NWLC Condemns NAIA’s Ban on Transgender Women’s Participation in Women’s College Sports

Washington, DC – Today, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced its decision to categorically ban transgender women from women’s sports.

In response, Shiwali Patel, Director of Justice for Student Survivors & Senior Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center issued the following statement:

“We are outraged by the recent decision of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to ban transgender women from participating in women’s college sports teams. This is unacceptable and blatant discrimination that not only harms trans, nonbinary, and intersex individuals, but limits the potential of all athletes. It’s important to recognize that these discriminatory policies don’t enhance fairness in competition. Instead, they send a message of exclusion and reinforce dangerous stereotypes that harm all women.

This ban, along with over 20 discriminatory categorical sports bans across the country, emphasizes the urgency in having clear Title IX rules that expressly prohibit this type of sex-based discrimination, and ensure the rights of all students, including transgender, nonbinary, and intersex athletes, are safeguarded. 

Trans athletes deserve a chance to play. We strongly urge the Biden administration to finalize Title IX rules that clarify that banning transgender students from playing with their peers is a clear violation of law, and for sports organizations and schools to prioritize inclusivity and equality, making sure that all athletes, regardless of their gender identity, have equal opportunities to participate in sports.”